Exactly. No point crying about it. If you don’t think you have a choice you need to see this.
I was on a ferry from the Greek mainland out to one of the islands, and I ended up chatting to a Norwegian fellow. He said that he loved ice-fishing – it was one of his favourite things to do.
Personally, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Out in the freezing cold, standing on a big block of ice, just waiting around for hours and hours, like a penguin at a bus-stop.
It would drive me mental.
But you know, I try to keep it polite.
“Sounds like fun,” I say. “But how do you handle the cold?”
He says, “It’s not so bad. When I was young, maybe 4 or 5, my father took me ice-fishing. It was freezing. I started to cry but my father said, ‘look, you’re here now. You can either spend the whole day crying about it, or you can learn to love the cold. You’ve got a choice. You can either choose to be miserable, or chose to love the cold.’ And so that’s what we did. We just learned to love the cold.”
To me this is life in a nut shell.
Existence is suffering. You have a body that breaks down and eventually wobbles its way into poor eyesight and wetting your pants. You have more dreams than can ever be realised, and you heart will be broken again and again and again.
Life is suffering. The world is a hard place.
But look, you’re here now. You can spend your whole life crying about it if you want to – how you’ve had to suffer from this or that, been on the receiving end of this or that injustice, seen your love ones betray you and pawn your antique golf clubs to buy breast implants.
We’ve all been there.
If you wanted to spend the rest of your days having a massive sook, you’d have every excuse.
I give you permission.
But is that what you really want to do?
Because you have a choice.
You can choose to accept the suffering that is your lot, and just see it as the entry price to Amusement Park Earth.
That’s what I do.
You can just choose to see every sling and every arrow and just another experience, another pattern in the rich tapestry of life.
Scars are the consequence of a life well lived.
You can choose to take every blow that’s coming to you, and just have a flipping good old time anyway. To dance and laugh and live fully.
That choice is yours.
So what’s it going to be, penguin?